ASHA Virtual Student Advocacy
In January of 2013, Craig Coleman, PSHA president, completed the application process and was awarded a one-time Student Advocacy Grant PSHA was offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The $1,000 grant was available to state associations that had an interest in developing and increasing student participation in State Advocacy Day Activities. On April 3, 2013, PSHA’s first Student Advocacy Day was held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Student representatives from each of the 14 Communication Science and Disorders Programs in Pennsylvania were selected to attend this event. Of the 14 universities, participants from 10 programs were able to attend. Many of the representatives were NSSLHA Chapter presidents or NSSLHA Chapter members.
Though none of the students had met prior to the Advocacy Day event, they worked together as a team and brought an enthusiasm that ignited countless ideas on how to initiate advocacy within their communities, their universities and their state. Participants in the Advocacy Day Program included Dave Tive, of The Tive Lobbying Group, who offered two presentations on Advocacy. Mr. Tive presented general information about the Pennsylvania state government, as well as suggestions for how to effectively advocate for issues at the state level. Mary Weidner, PSHA secretary, offered a “hands-on activity” to energize the students and inspire creativity on the topic of advocacy. The day also included a visit to the State Capitol for a meeting with Majority Leader, Representative Michael Turzai’s senior staff as well as a tour of the capitol. The day’s program ended with a summary of how to embark on advocacy, and bring advocacy initiatives to the NSSLHA Chapters of each of the student participants.
Our goal is to continue on with the Advocacy Day Program on a yearly basis. Next year, the plan is to coordinate a Student Advocacy Day during legislative sessions to engage the students with their legislators on important issues.